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Reims Cathedral was the site of coronations for French kings in memory of the baptism of Clovis here by Saint Remi in 496.
The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the 14th and 15th century construction work was at a low level, because of political instability and wars (Hundred Years War).
The greater rose window (late 13th century) above the main porch represents the ascension of Our Lady.
The oldest preserved stained glass windows (1235) are the high windows of the apse.
The choir windows were constructed in the second quarter of the 13th century.
The internal length of the cathedral is exactly 138.67m.
In the present cathedral, exactly 25 French kings were crowned, starting with Louis VIII the Lion in 1223.
The cathedral suffered major damage during a fire in 1481 as well as during WWI. Major renovations were undertaken in the 19th Century under Viollet-le-Duc and others. More recently the Angel Tower, which was lost in 1481, was rebuilt.
The vault of the great nave is 38m high.
The nine windows of the triforium date from 14th century. The theme of these windows is 'Coronation of a King'.
From 1027 to 1825 all coronations of the French kings, except for Louis VI and Henry IV, took place in this cathedral or in one of the preceding churches.
The rose window on the south wall of the transept has been restored two times: in 1580 by Nicolas Dérodé after a hurricane and in 1937 by Jacques Simon. The theme of this window is the reunification of Christ and Mary in heaven.
The southern tower has two huge bells. The biggest one is named “Charlotte” and has a weight of about 10 metric tons.
After the foundation stone of the present cathedral was laid in 1211, construction was led by Jean d'Orbais (for about 20 years); Jean-de-Loup (for about 16 years); Gaucher-de-Rheims (builder of the West Porch); Bernard de Soissons (for 35 years achieving completion of the nave and the main rose window); Robert de Coucy (d. 1311).
The vault of the side aisles is 16.40m high.
According to plan, the unfinished towers at the western façade should have reached a height of 120 m.
Contemporary stained-glass windows were designed by Marc Chagall and made by local craftsmen to replace windows damaged by war.
The width of the great nave, measured from the axis of the pillars is 14.65m.
The rose window above the northern porch (north transept) was placed slightly later than the apse high windows. The 'Creation' is the theme of this rose window.
Considered one of the principal examples of Gothic architecture, the cathedral features scupture from the Middle Ages around its portals and on the interior west wall including the famous Smiling Angel statue.
The outside width of the nave walls is 34m.
At the end of the 13th century, the interior was completed and the façade rose above the great rose window.
The transept arms (the east and west walls of the transept) never had stained-glass windows, in order to allow more light in the cathedral. Instead, those windows were decorated with grisailles.
The length of the nave is 115m.
The cathedral, imagined by Viollet-le-Duc, should have got seven spiral towers: two at the west façade, one at the nave-transept crossing, two at the north transept and two at the south transept.
The small rose window (1936) above the main porch depicts the glorification of Mary.
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